Kindergarten Bullying: Top Signs and What Parents Should Do

Bullying is a common problem that children face in schools, but most parents don't know that it can start as early as kindergarten. As you prepare your child to join kindergarten, it's essential to be on the lookout for signs of bullying. Preschool lays the foundation of your child's education, and anything that can affect their progress should be dealt with soonest possible. While bullying occurs mostly in the upper grades, you still need to know the signs of bullying even if your little one just joined kindergarten. This post outlines signs of bullying and what parents should do.

Bullying in kindergarten

Since the young ones are still developing the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to deal with any conflict in a calm manner, aggressive behaviour is common at this stage. For instance, a child may decide to grab a toy from another kid, push them or call names. However, bullying is marked by a power imbalance, and intent to harm differs from general aggression.

Kids tend to imitate what they have seen older siblings or their parents do, or what they watch on television. This is why a child will tell another that 'you can't play with us' or 'I hate what you are wearing'. Physical bullying may also be done, and this includes hitting or taking things away.

Signs your child is being bullied at school

Signs your child will exhibit if they are being bullied at school include behavioural changes, losing interest in attending school, sadness, torn school clothes, loss of appetite, lost possessions, sleeping issues or nightmares, regression and unwarranted aggression towards siblings or playmates.

Strategies for helping your child

If you think your child is being bullied in their kindergarten class, try the following strategies:

Ask your child how their day was. No matter how busy your schedule is, create time to talk to your child about how their day. Be sure to ask specific queries to get more information instead of yes or no answers.

Have a discussion with the teacher. Since bullying behaviours in young ones are visible, consider talking to the child's teacher. The chances are that the teacher already knows what is going on.

Teach your child some self-advocacy skills. Once you realise that your child is being bullied or they have witnessed other kids being bullied, consider working on their self-advocacy skills. This will act as a tool they can use when someone bullies them. For example, your child can stand up for themselves or tell a teacher what is going on. 

Reach out to a kindergarten teacher if you have questions about this.